Spanish Flu Still Considered Worst Pandemic in Recent History

Courtesy photo

Long before the world ever heard of coronavirus or COVID-19, countries were ravaged by another disease. Sheridan Media reporter Pat Blair has the details.

The disease didn’t originate in Spain, so the name “Spanish flu” remains something of a mystery.

In fact, there is no universal consensus regarding where the virus originated. What is known is that it was caused by a virus with genes of avian origin – birds – and it spread worldwide during 1918-1919.

According to a timeline published online, outbreaks of a flulike illness were first detected in the U.S. in March 1918, with more than 100 soldiers at Camp Funston in Fort Riley, Kansas, becoming ill.

Estimates are that about 500 million people – one-third of the world’s population at the time – became infected with the virus, with an estimated 50 million deaths worldwide, about 675,000 of those in the United States.

Spanish influenza is still considered the most severe pandemic in recent history.

Starting Monday, Sheridan Media will forego our coverage of 100 years ago and instead look at Spanish influenza as covered by the local newspaper.

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